Mayor backs off push to privatize Toronto trash collection

Feb 8, 2017

Garbage collection and disposal for a large area of Toronto will remain in union hands. The city's mayor had been advocating for it to be turned over to the private sector, but he has basically shelved the idea, for now.

For Mayor John Tory, the decision is all about dollars and cents. It also has to do with a pledge he made in 2014.


It has been a lively and simmering fight with the mayor and his supporters and the unions using competing ad campaigns to back their positions. The union ran ads with the slogan 'Kicked to the curb,' while the mayor was shown with a family as they put out the trash, to highlight the cost savings to families of private collection. People on the west side of Toronto have had private collection since 1995.
But before it could come to a vote in city council, Tory backed down. He tabled a new motion to have the issue referred back to city officials for more study. His critics say he didn't have enough support and was trying to put on a brave front rather than the issue be defeated publicly.

"I think, in light of all of that that, the responsible thing to do, as opposed to having a situation where quite frankly there might not be a winner or loser no matter what the vote was on this, is to go back and get those facts and bring those facts back here. It'll take the time it takes and then we'll have the facts that a lot of people on all perspectives on this issue said were missing," Tory said.

A public works committee has said it would actually cost less for city workers to collect the garbage in the east side than for what the city is paying on the west side.

For now, trash collection on the east side remains in hands of unionized workers and the issue isn't likely to resurface before the next municipal election next year.